Saturday, 14 March 2015

Communicating academic research to geography teachers

This blog post considers the most effective ways of disseminate academic research to geography teachers. Last week I attended the Teaching about Ice CPD day run by the Prince's Teaching Institute (PTI). Delegates were treated to three fascinating lectures from leading academics Professors Iain Stewart (Plymouth), David Evans (Durham) and Neil Glasser (Aberystwyth).
Meeting David Evans and Iain Stewart

Throughout the day, however, I realised that my parts of my subject knowledge and understanding were incorrect or outdated and I am sure that this ‘miscomprehension’ is a widespread issue in the geography teaching profession.

The day was a tremendous success for those delegates who were lucky enough to attend but what about the thousands of other geography teachers who would have benefited from being there?

This blog therefore asks some questions: What are the most effective ways to communicate the latest academic research findings to a wider professional audience? How do we reach out and develop busy geography teachers? To what extent are geography teachers aware of their CPD needs?
I am convinced that there is a need to communicate the latest knowledge to teachers and students. The 'communication routes' below already exist and could be used more effectively to disseminate new science
  •  The annual Geographical Association (GA) conference. Many academics already give lectures at this event which attended by over 1000 geography teachers.
  • CPD events run by the Royal Geographical Society (RGS-IBG).
  • A level Geography Review magazine or GeofactsheetsMore academics could write regular updates and articles for these publications which are read by thousands of teachers and their students.
  • Geography textbooks. Academics could be more actively involved in the process of writing A level or GCSE geography textbook which reach millions of students nationally.
  • Writing an article in the GA’s Geography journal.  Papers are pitched at Geography and Education.
  • Continued publicity for PTI CPD events and support from academics.

There are clearly many other routes available but I would consider these to be the most effective.  If you are an academic with an interest in sharing your research with the wider school geography education community please do consider getting involved in the routes outlined above.